Sunday, 28 September, 2008 1:35 PM
CMA New Artist Spotlight: Crystal
by Laura Crosta
Nashville recording artist Crystal Shawanda
2008 CMA Close Up News Service
Though raised on a reservation
on Canada's Manitoulin Island, Crystal Shawanda grew up with Nashville
in her soul. She experienced the Music City dream for the first
time at 11, when she rode with her father on his trucking run and
spent some time on Lower Broadway, peering through the window into
Tootsies Orchid Lounge. Two years later, she worked up the courage
to sit in there with the band. That's all it took for her to become
a semi-regular at the venue whenever she was back in town.
By that time, Shawanda
was taking deeper notice of life back home. Resisting the despair
that pulled so many of her friends into addiction and early death,
she channeled her emotions into a vocal and writing style that was
steeped in Country but intensified by a wrenching passion reminiscent
at times of Janis Joplin yet elevated by feelings of hope and celebration.
The title of her RCA
Records Nashville debut album, Dawn of a New Day, is a translation
of her Ojibwe last name, but it also reflects the essence of her
music. Produced by Scott Hendricks, it reflects Shawanda's soulful
side on her first single, "You Can Let Go," written by
Cory Batten, Kent Blazy and Rory Lee Feek, which focuses on the
moment when a bride is given symbolically by her father to her husband.
Shawanda understands the lyric perfectly; her performance is a complex
blend of love, affirmation and farewell - no easy achievement for
a young singer and a harbinger of the artistry she seems sure to
IN HER OWN WORDS:
"Hank Williams and Loretta Lynn."
SONG YOU'D LIKE TO
"'I'm Over You' by Keith Whitley."
CD IN YOUR STEREO
"A mix CD of Dwight Yoakam and Fergie."
SONG YOU SING IN
"Alicia Keys, Patsy Cline, opera music - basically, whatever
pops into my head."
WHAT YOU HOPE PEOPLE
WILL SAY ABOUT YOU 50 YEARS FROM NOW
"Wild child makes good."
On the Web: www.myspace.com/crystalshawanda
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